This is an updated version of the old video, in 16:9 instead of 4:3. It is a montage of clips from the most expensive film ever made (in today’s dollars the budget would be over $700 million). The movie is Sergei Bondarchuk’s War & Peace, made in Russia in the mid-60’s, and these scenes are from the Battle of Borodino, an hour long battle sequence. These were the days before CG animation, there are no special effects creating these huge armies, it is all REAL. 120,000 soldiers in period costumes, thousands of horses, etc. No film will ever come close to this in terms of spectacle, without being, essentially, a work of animation (like The Return of the King).
This video absolutely DOES NOT represent the full effect of the film. Only a big screen can do War and Peace justice. There are a ton of details in the background that can’t even be made out on YouTube, and the detail of the final shot in the video (possibly the most epic shot in film history) is completely lost on YouTube.
I first saw this extravaganza in a San Francisco movie theater in the early 70s. It was, for a time, shown every year as a kind of sop to all the San Fransicko lib and progs. The movie would start at 11:00 PM after an hour or so warming up and getting in the mood in the lobby with vodka bottles encased in blocks of ice, shashlik, and caviar. We then sat through 3 segments of 2 hours for the first two and three for the last. All with 30-minute intermissions for MORE vodka bottles encased in blocks of ice, shashlik, and caviar.. WE STAGGERED (literally) out into a raw San Francisco dawn with massive hangovers and ears still ringing from the Battle of Borodino. Lesson learned for today? Russia has massive armies and uses them and doesn’t care about high casualties at all.